It’s not just about getting a good night’s sleep, or increased risk of obesity. There’s now evidence that eating late at night could be linked to a higher risk of breast cancer in women and prostate cancer in men.
Earlier this year, scientists at the Barcelona Institute tor Global Health reported people who had ‘mistimed sleeping and eating patterns’ – or ate just before bed – were more likely to suffer from some cancers. Those who regularly ate after 9pm, or less than two hours before going to sleep, had around a 20 per cent raised risk of breast and prostate cancers.
It could just be that late-night eaters tend to make bad choices (it’s inevitably biscuits not broccoli we eat at bedtime), but it’s also likely that eating at night interferes with the body’s circadian rhythms – the inner clock that regulates our sleep, energy levels and hormones. By eating when our body thinks we should be resting, we may Regularly eating after 9pm increases your breast cancer risk by 20 per cent.
JACKFRUIT OR MEAT?
bump up our risk of diseases, including cancer. In particular, breast and prostate cancers are fuelled by the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone, which are tightly linked to the body’s internal body clock. Eating when the body thinks it’s night may disturb the production and regulation of these hormones, potentially encouraging breast or prostate cancer growth. Although the research is still in its early stages, I always advise finishing eating by 9pm.
If you haven’t tried jackfruit yet, it probably won’t be long before you do, because the vegan ingredient is becoming popular in restaurants and supermarket meals. Before ripening, the exotic fruit has a fibrous nature that mimics the texture of meat, particularly pulled pork. It’s also quite bland, so ideal for soaking up flavours it’s cooked with.
But how healthy is it? If you’re weightwatching, it can cut your calories – a ‘pulled jackfruit’ burger will have only
around 250 calories (including the bun) compared with twice this in the meat version. It will also count as one of your five-a-day and provide some vitamin C and fibre. But, protein-wise, jackfruit doesn’t compare with other Quorn or soya products, nor does it contain vitamin B12, often added to these alternatives.
The poorer nutritional quality of jackfruit won’t matter occasionally, but if you’re vegan and using if as a meat substitute, you won’t be getting enough protein.